US State Dept: Don't Censor The Internet! Unless We Order You To, As We Did In Spain...

from the sing-a-song-of-hypocrisy dept

We've discussed how the State Department, and Hillary Clinton in particular, have been spending a lot of time talking up the importance of internet freedom, and speaking out against countries that censor the internet. That even resulted in Joe Biden's unintentionally hilarious explanation of why internet censorship is horrible... while he supports internet censorship at home.

It seems like there's a real disconnect in our government, however, when the censorship is couched in the word "copyright." We just wrote about how Spain adopted its SOPA-like law this week, despite widespread public outrage. We had noted that the US State Department was a major force behind the bill, and (no surprise) more news has leaked that there was more of the same behind this new decision to adopt the Sinde Law. It's been leaked that, just last month, State Department officials threatened the Spanish government that if it didn't pass the law, there would be repercussions. This was a letter from US ambassador Alan Solomont to the outgoing Spanish government, sent December 12th, in which he talked about "promises" made to the US government:
"The government has unfortunately failed to finish the job for political reasons, to the detriment of the reputation and economy of Spain... The government of Spain made commitments to the rights owners and to the US government. Spain can not afford to see their credibility questioned on this issue."
Stunning. Because, in actuality, the commitment the Spanish government has is to its own citizens -- who are very much against the bill. The only thing that raises questions about Spain's "credibility" is caving to US diplomatic pressure to censor the internet.

Meanwhile, if we want to talk "credibility," the US State Department is increasingly losing its credibility on this issue. How can any diplomat, with a straight face, go public talking about internet freedom and being against censorship, when the State Department demanded Spain pass a law that allows for censoring the internet?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2012 @ 4:37pm

    Silly mike, you are linking to Classified Info. This is the exact reason we need SOPA/PIPA to keep the masses from knwoing the cat is out of the bag.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Rob, Jan 5th, 2012 @ 4:54pm

    Credibility?

    "the US State Department is increasingly losing its credibility on this issue"

    See, there's your mistake. You granted them credibility in the first place.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Justin Olbrantz (Quantam), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 4:55pm

    Catastrophe

    Clearly Spain's economy was so completely decimated by the rampant piracy that they couldn't even be bothered to pass stronger copyright laws, and had to have their arm twisted by foreign interests until they gave in and allowed themselves to be saved.

    Death to pirates.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2012 @ 5:09pm

    Stunning. Because, in actuality, the commitment the Spanish government has is to its own citizens -- who are very much against the bill.

    What a rube. It's like you live in Mayberry or something Masnick. Governments make commitments to other countries all the time. What do you want a referendum every time? Face it, you mask your sniveling with the contrived injustice to Spanish citizens. Fact is that it is this particular commitment that has your panties in a knot, not your laughable notion of a government's decision-by-decision accountability to its citizens.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 5:11pm

    Re:

    No quit your day job... your not good enough to troll here.

    0/10 - not even a blip in the blood pressure

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 5:14pm

    If you look at all of the other times the US has meddled in other countries affairs its really hard to find a time they didn't screw up.

    Maybe the new rule of thumb for the rest of the world should be if the US is for it, be against it. Not talking about what the publicly say but all of the closed room antics they go through to keep corporations happy.

    Oooh trade sanctions with the US... what is it that we make here again? Once upon a time that might have been a real threat, nowdays... not so much.

     

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  7.  
    icon
    Zos (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 5:21pm

    Re:

    so...you're against governments being accountable to their citizens

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2012 @ 5:30pm

    Re: Re:

    Obviously you're stung by your low standing in the Annual Techdirt Douchebag Awards and are looking to break out in 2012. I can understand your despair...... being bested by Marcus. But pithy responses have never been your forte. If it's recognition you (obviously) seek, better to petition Masnick to add a category like "Biggest Loser" or "Coolest Bachelor Pad In His Mom's Basement". You'd be a lock.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2012 @ 5:33pm

    Re: Re:

    No. That's what elections are for. I don't feel a need to consult every citizen on every single policy decision. Are you slow, or do you simply not see that a government cannot function this way.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Justin Olbrantz (Quantam), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 5:36pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I don't think he has a chance of taking the Annual Douchebag award from you, but it's so nice to see you trying to console those they've bested. The world really needs more gracious winners like you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    icon
    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 5:44pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Obviously you're stung by your low standing in the Annual Techdirt Douchebag Awards

    And obviously you're stung by not being invited to host them. Someone with a "Lifetime Achievement Award" in douchebaggery shouldn't even have to ask to be considered. It should be a given.

    BTW, Foursquare has just made me mayor of your mom's basement. I've been helping her open up her wi-fi, among other things.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
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    Franklin G Ryzzo (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 5:46pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    There is a big difference between consulting every citizen and being held accountable to the citizens you represent. You don't need to ask every single person to understand that what you are supporting is representative of what they feel should or should not happen. Being that you are the king of intellectual dishonesty it may be hard to fathom that some people actually believe their governments should act in their best interests and represent the will of the people, but it's true.

    Having a bad day? Your ad-homs and strawmen are particularly weak this evening?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
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    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 5:48pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    So, you're fine with your elected officials being told by other officials you didn't elect (because you couldn't -- they're from an entirely different country) what kind of legislation they're going to pass?

    The hell kind of representation is that?

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Justin Olbrantz (Quantam), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 5:50pm

    Re: Re:

    Not at all. He fully supports governments being accountable to their citizens as well as their corporate sponsors: when the two want the same thing he supports accountability to the citizens; otherwise he supports accountability to the corporate sponsors.

    Democracy at work.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2012 @ 5:54pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Finding out what the citizens want is too hard. Screw due process!"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Justin Olbrantz (Quantam), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 5:56pm

    Re:

    Where's that one guy talking about how boycotting is a violation of people's free speech, and something only done by Nazis? Oh yeah, that only applies when citizens voluntarily boycott a company he likes. There's absolutely nothing wrong with a government forcing its people to boycott the businesses of a country he hates.

    Or so he tells me.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2012 @ 6:08pm

    Silly Spain, daring to enforce copyright law.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Justin Olbrantz (Quantam), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 6:26pm

    Re:

    "Naughty, naughty Spain, daring to not enforce copyright law without being forced by the US."

    Fixed that for you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2012 @ 6:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Spain has a choice to make. Pass laws that make it harder for your citizens to loot American intellectual property or deal with the consequences of denying our request. They made a decision that they believed what was in the best interests of their country. Countries leverage their position with other countries all the time. Do you not understand the way the world works, Goober? For people who claim to be so technologically sophisticated, there's a shocking lack awareness outside of your LARP leagues.

    China buys US debt by the bushel basket, not because they think it's such a dandy investment but because it provides leverage. Every country that can leverages it position to its own advantage. You clowns may be the kings of your fantasy worlds, but you live in the real world. You should try to understand it too.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2012 @ 6:47pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yeah, cuz that hopey changey thingy worked SOOOOO well.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2012 @ 6:55pm

    Re:

    I agree, it is silly to enforce laws that shouldn't even exist. Abolish IP laws.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2012 @ 7:00pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Pure represenatative democracy is not working. We do need some direct democracy influences. When a LOT of people oppose a law, they should actually be able to stop it, or at the very least put it through a long process of public debate.

    Signing it in secret is NOT how democracy should be done.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2012 @ 7:01pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Pure representative democracy is not working. We do need some direct democracy influences. When a LOT of people oppose a law, they should actually be able to stop it, or at the very least put it through a long process of public debate.

    Signing it in secret is NOT how democracy should be done.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2012 @ 7:20pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Of course you don't feel the need to consult the population, you are not a public representative.

    Because if you were one, you would listen to what your constituency says before embarking in quixotic endeavors like copyBS protection.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2012 @ 7:20pm

    Machiavelli would be proud

    US State used the double entendre ”Spain can not afford to see their credibility questioned on this issue." That is exactly how you threaten a heavily in debt country (due to Socialists over-promised social benefits – see also; Greece).

    It starts by giving the people what they want until the shit hits the fan and the govt has to step all over the people’s rights to stay “in control”. History of the world.

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Justin Olbrantz (Quantam), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 7:24pm

    Re: Machiavelli would be proud

    The great irony here is that the US is far more in debt than Spain.

    ...actually, it's quite possible that's the reason the US is doing this to begin with.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2012 @ 7:28pm

    The U.S. government is just funny.

    Feds Want Judge to Force Suspect to Give Up Laptop Password marvelous display of how to uphold the US constitution there and done no less by the US government.

    Sir James Dyson: China Stalls IP Reform at Its Own Peril I used to like that guy he spent years living off of his wife work trying to invent something better and he did, now he keep saying that he needs protection. I saw some of his latests products he ripped off everybody else and he claims he needs others to respect his bogus patents?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2012 @ 8:12pm

    Spain was also the country where more than 90% of its citizens was opposed to joining the war in Iraq, yet the Spanish govt sedn troops anyway.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2012 @ 8:19pm

    Re: Re: Machiavelli would be proud

    That is like saying the surgeon is far more in debt than the ditch digger because the former has owes $50,000 and the latter owes $500. It's all relative. Keep spending yourselves into oblivion and maybe Google will buy you.

     

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  30.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 8:21pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    *yawn*

    0/10 - well at least mom thinks your funny... looking. :D


    And if your primitive mind could actually comprehend words other people write, you'd see I was honored to place that high on both lists. When you consider I've not been here that long and originally came just to deal with the Copyright Troll lawyers, I think I found a place where I fit in.

    But you keep reaching for the stars, maybe someday you will find someplace where people think your brand of "instant troll" just add insults will make you popular.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    icon
    LC (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 8:30pm

    I love it that the department of state routinely calls for a free and open internet and yet they're doing sweet f*ck all about SOPA/PIPA.

    That alone is enough for people to stop listening to them. Why aren't they?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Justin Olbrantz (Quantam), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 8:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: Machiavelli would be proud

    Indeed. The US is the surgeon that owes you $50,000,000. The US owes far more than Spain in both absolute ($ value) and relative (% of GDP) terms.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2012 @ 8:58pm

    "It's not censorship if it's removing stuff I don't like!"

    Are there some meds that these people are off of? I know it's unlikely, but it'd be great if they could just start taking their pills again and get their self-awareness and empathy back.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    icon
    hmm (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 10:07pm

    What I find funny is

    That the US (cash) debt is 15.1 trillion, but the asset debts are around 156 trillion (multiple times the value of the entire planet).

    At this point money is the same as IP, just a method of controlling mass populations and hoping they won't rise up against you.........

    The big problem however is that the top-end rich people have gathered most of the wealth to themselves by making the vast majority of the population poor, meaning the poor can't continue to buy things to keep the rich rich.

    And whats the point in having billions if its just bits of paper that people start to ignore as they switch to either bartering or localized currencies?

    The whole system could be about to reach an interesting feedback loop where the top-rich have 99.99999999% of the GOVERNMENT SACTIONED money, but the overwhelming population doesn't give a rats ass because it uses another system entirely.....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jan 6th, 2012 @ 1:13am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yeah, so much easier than allowing Spanish citizen to access content legally.

    When will you morons learn that legal sanctions don't matter in the slightest when you block people from legally buying your crap? 15 years of this idiotic argument, and I'm no nearer to being able to legally access a service like Netflix, Hulu or even being allowed to buy some titles that would be freely available to me if not for artificial region coding. But, yeah, you have to destroy freedom of speech to get your profit. Idiot.

    "your fantasy worlds"

    You are the expert on fantasy worlds, after all. Most AC posts here do seem to fail to address reality. It's much harder to address the real problems with your business after all, than it is to whine to governments about "piracy".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Jan 6th, 2012 @ 1:14am

    Re:

    "Silly Spain, daring to enforce foreign copyright law at the behest of companies who don't even offer a legal purchase option to Spanish citizens"

    FTFY

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
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    Richard (profile), Jan 6th, 2012 @ 1:19am

    Re: Re:

    Sorry - I read that as deliberate sarcasm ...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    icon
    Richard (profile), Jan 6th, 2012 @ 1:22am

    Re: Re: Re:

    do you simply not see that a government cannot function this way.

    I see Switzerland - the living proof that you are wrong.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    anonymous, Jan 6th, 2012 @ 1:32am

    the USA should now definitely be put on the 'we will not trade with you' list of the rest of the world. see how they like that!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 6th, 2012 @ 4:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The question is what the 'representative democracy' represents. The people do not truly have a say in who is elected, despite what they try to feed us all. The real voters are the Electoral college and the corporations that funnel money into politics.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    icon
    gorehound (profile), Jan 6th, 2012 @ 5:52am

    My Country of the USA sucks so bad now.It is all going downhill and we are losing all the civil rights we once had.Soon the Government will finally bite off more than it can chew.
    Viva Le Revolution !!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 6th, 2012 @ 6:34am

    Re:

    "laughable notion of a government's decision-by-decision accountability to its citizens"

    Tell us what you really think.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 6th, 2012 @ 6:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    So your argument is that because the world currently works that way that's how it should always work? Garner enough outrage and change is sure to follow...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 6th, 2012 @ 6:44am

    Re: Re: Re:

    You open with 'no' but the rest of your comment screams 'YES' into a bull-horn.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    icon
    Violated (profile), Jan 6th, 2012 @ 7:51am

    Clinton

    Hilary Clinton sure owes us an explanation. All her long discussions on a free, fair, open and uncensored Internet, followed by her SOPA/PIPA concerns, then she is the very head of foreign policy in the State Department that FORCED Spain to do everything she claims she hates.

    Arggggggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Fucking politicians would sell their soul to the Devil for a gold coin. I can't wait for the next time Hilary is taking public questions to highlight the colour of her hypercritical actions. Had she any honour she would condemn this Spanish censorship and quit.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 6th, 2012 @ 7:59am

    Re: Clinton

    If they could grind babies and puppies to turn them into cash, and get away with it, they would. No question about it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    icon
    ZeeBat (profile), Jan 6th, 2012 @ 8:24am

    Awesome!

    Now we manipulate countries and overrule their own citizenry for the enforcement of obsoleted business models.

    Awesome is what awesome does.

    Shouldn't we be taxing their paychecks now? All your governments are belong to us.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    icon
    hmm (profile), Jan 6th, 2012 @ 8:52am

    well

    At least we aren't dropping bombs on spain (yet), though that plan has probably floated through the administration at least once or twice.

    Those pirates have their servers in BUNKERS yes?...and we have Bunker Buster Bombs....what are we waiting for?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    icon
    hmm (profile), Jan 6th, 2012 @ 8:54am

    Also

    There's a saying "misery loves company".

    If the US is becoming (sorry HAS BECOME since Obama is now a de-facto dictator and doesn't represent the people anymore) a totalitarian state and the dollar is considered worthless, why don't we take a few other countries down with us.

    Side note - how long do you think it is before the current administration "suspends" the electoral system because of "homeland terrorists".......and simply 'disappears' anyone who disagrees?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 6th, 2012 @ 9:50am

    Re: Also

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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